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Notre Dame-South Florida tip-off will be around 2:30-2:45 in Hartford in quarterfinals of Big East Tournament. The game will be on ESPNU. Winner will play Louisville tomorrow at 6 p.m. in the semis.
USF gave ND a scare on Jan. 8 before the Irish prevailed in overtime, 75-71. No. 2 ND is gunning for its school record 24th consecutive victory.
Guard Andrea Smith had 33 points for USF in the first meeting (plus 11 rebounds), but she had to take 37 shots (making 13) to do it.
ND was typically well balanced with Natalie Achonwa scoring 20, Skylar Diggins 19, Jewell Loyd 18 and Kayla McBride 12.
ND wearing the funky tournament uniforms by adidas. Lime/neon green lettering in white unis with neon green shoes and camouflage-like shorts.
First media timeout at 15:26 has ND leading 6-4, with Loyd, Diggins and Achonwa scoring baskets for the Irish. Little ragged on both sides, not unusual with tournament action now beginning. ND has four turnovers, while USF missed its first 8 shots.
This post was edited by Lou Somogyi on 3/10/2013 at 1:42 PM
USF out-hustling ND on the boards en route to taking a 14-10 lead, but a Diggins steal and lay-in reduces it to 14-12. Second media timeout with just under 12 minutes left.
This post was edited by Lou Somogyi on 3/10/2013 at 1:50 PM
Andrea Smith drills her seventh point on a trey and suddenly USF is up 19-13. Kayla McBride picks up her second foul and is taken out of the game at 9:08, and likely will sit the rest of the half.
Skylar then drills a three to make it 19-16. She has 11 of ND's 16 points. The Irish had missed 10 of their previous 11 shots.
Third media timeout is at 6:58 with USF leading 21-18. Irish need a scoring option, or two, to complement Diggins.
Baskets by Achonwa and Diggins put ND back up 22-21 with just over six minutes left until the half.
ND beginning to find its groove with a 14-0 run to make 30-21 after a 3 by Michaela Mabrey.
FInal media timeout at 3:17 with the same score. Defense is propelling the offense, while Achonwa is asserting her presence more inside with nine points, including a basket-and-one.
First half ends with Notre Dame leading 37-31. USF hit two late threes and has five overall to keep itself within striking distance. Diggins has 13 points.
ND shot only 35 percent in the first half, but it forced 11 turnovers that led to 17 points. Achonwa nearly had a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.
USF was 5-of-8 from beyond the arc in the first half and then opened with another in the second half to help cut the margin to 39-36.
Yet another three by USF, its seventh, knots the game at 41-41. First media timeout at 15:42 has the score still tied. The Smith twins have 28 of the 41 points for the Bulls.
Achonwa scores to put ND up 43-41 and record her school record-tying 16th double-double of the season. McGraw calls time out at 13:27 when Bulls retake the lead at 45-43.
This post was edited by Lou Somogyi on 3/10/2013 at 2:50 PM
Kayla McBride picks up her 4th foul with 12:27 left. She's played only 15 minutes and is 1-of-8 from the floor.
The 2nd media timeout at 11:52 left has USF ahead 48-46, with Achonwa to go to the line for ND after the break. USF didn't have a turnover for the first 8 minutes of the second half, and Notre Dame's A-game isn't there today.
9th triple in 15 tries by USF puts them ahead 51-47. The previous game USF was 5-of-28 behind the arc. That's the beauty of athletics — except when it's going against you.
Ariel Braker's 15-footer puts ND back up 53-51 leading to a 30-second USF timeout at 9:39.
Third media timeout at 7:43: ND 57, USF 53. Achonwa has 16 points and 15 rebounds so far. Diggins mainly a distributor now with just one second-half basket.
This post was edited by Lou Somogyi on 3/10/2013 at 3:19 PM
Back-to-back baskets by McBride give ND some breathing room with a 65-57 cushion, and the Irish will be going to the line after the final media timeout at 3:59.
At the 1:00 mark Achonwa grabs her 20th rebound (career high) to go with 20 points. Irish up 71-64 with 43.7 seconds left and possessing the ball. That's the first 20-20 at ND since 1988 when Heidi Bunek had 25 points and 20 rebounds against DePaul.
ND survives and advances with 75-66 victory for a school record 24th consecutive victory. Look for a recap later tonight on the home page.
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